The third country to buy it despite US objections.. India receives the first shipment of the Russian S-400 system
Russia has started delivering the S-400 missile system to India, according to what was announced Sunday by the Russian Center for International Military-Technical Cooperation, according to a deal signed by the two sides three years ago.
And Russian media quoted the Director of the Center, Dmitry Shugayev, as saying – before the start of the Dubai Air Show – that the deliveries of equipment for the S-400 air defense system to India have begun, and are going according to the specified dates.
India signed this deal with Moscow in October 2018, to acquire 5 units of the S-400 system, with an estimated value of $5.4 billion.
The “S-400” system is a new generation of long- and medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems, and is designed to destroy strategic and tactical aircraft and ballistic missiles.
India became the third foreign buyer of this Russian system, after China and Turkey, and thus angered the United States, which threatened it with sanctions if it did not back down.
Last year, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey after it purchased the S-400s, and excluded it from the F-35 fighter jet production program.
The American position
The administration of President Joe Biden called on US allies to refrain from buying Russian equipment in order to avoid sanctions under US law, a message carried by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on a visit to New Delhi last March.
Austin said at the time that he did not discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions, because India had not received any shipment of the Russian system.
Relations between Washington and New Delhi have always been difficult, but common concerns about China have led to a rapprochement between them since Narendra Modi came to power in India in 2014, and under former US President Donald Trump (2017-2021).
The United States is one of India’s largest arms sellers, and the two sides discussed a US armed drone deal, as well as a massive deal of more than 150 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force, to help narrow the gap with China.
Prior to that, US defense companies signed deals worth billions of dollars to supply India with military equipment, including helicopters, as part of the modernization of the Indian armed forces, which plans to invest about $250 billion for this.
Nevertheless, Russia remains the largest supplier of arms to India, which was reinforced by the S-400 missile deal Modi signed with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018.